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Kevin O'Flaherty

When you own a property, there are specific rules and regulations that you are responsible for adhering to per your local HOA and COA. In Illinois, homeowner associations are governed by a framework of laws designed to protect property owners and ensure the orderly management of these communities. These laws, which include the Common Interest Community Association Act and the Condominium Property Act, detail the powers, responsibilities, and obligations of HOA boards, as well as the rights and duties of community members. This article covers recent changes to Illinois HOA laws in 2024 such as minimum heating and cooling requirements, electric vehicle charging act, and road maintenance authority. This article will also provide an overview of HOA and COA disputes.  

What are HOA's and COA's?  

Homeowners Associations, or HOAs, and Condominium Owners Associations, or COAs, are associations for groups of properties that protect services and provide a sense of community through activities and enforcement of shared values. HOAs and COAs have similar goals but are governed by different Illinois laws.  

Several new Illinois HOA Laws will take effect in 2024:

  1. Minimum Heating and Cooling Requirements: Public Act 103-0161 mandates specific heating and cooling requirements for associations with age restrictions (55+). This includes operating central cooling systems when the heat index exceeds 80°F and maintaining minimum temperatures in buildings with central heating systems.
  2. Electric Vehicle Charging Act: Public Act 103-0053 prohibits associations from banning electric vehicle charging stations. It also sets guidelines for individual owners installing personal charging stations.
  3. Road Maintenance Authority: Public Act 103-0486 allows HOA boards to contract with highway commissioners for road maintenance and repairs, specifically in associations constituting over 50% of the population of their township or road district.

These changes focus on accommodating older residents, supporting electric vehicle infrastructure, and granting HOAs more control over internal affairs

Key Illinois HOA Laws to Be Aware Of

Common Interest Community Association Act

The Common Interest Community Association Act, also known as the Common Interest Association Act, is a key part of in the Illinois HOA laws. It governs homeowner associations that encompass a minimum of 11 private residences and collect more than $100,000 in annual dues. The act delineates the administration and authority of these common interest communities, ensuring that the interests of homeowners are protected, while addressing common interest community subject matters.

This act grants specific entitlements to members of condominium and common interest associations. They have the right to inspect, examine, and copy association records, including financial records and documents related to board meetings and executive meetings. Importantly, before any fines for community regulation violations or unit owner’s financial obligation enforcement are carried out, homeowners must receive written notice and a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

Not-for-profit Corporation Act

HOAs with 10 or fewer units and annual dues collections of $100,000 or less fall under the jurisdiction of the General Not-for-profit Corporation Act of 1986. It sets the stage for these smaller HOAs, guiding their management and operation. It’s worth noting, however, that this act is not applicable to condominiums, as they are unable to form as not-for-profit corporations in Illinois.

Interestingly, associations with 10 or fewer units can choose to adhere to the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act instead of the General Not-for-profit Corporation Act. This decision is made through a majority vote of the board or community members. Community association management firms can help navigate these choices.

Human Rights and Fair Housing Legislation

Beyond the state-specific laws, Illinois HOA laws are also governed by federal and state laws that safeguard homeowners from discrimination. The Illinois Human Rights Act and the federal Fair Housing Act play a crucial role in this regard. The Illinois Human Rights Act provides protection against discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and sexual harassment at the state level.

In addition to state-level protections, the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • sex
  • national origin
  • physical or mental disability
  • familial status

This means that Illinois HOAs must not engage in discriminatory practices in real estate transactions. Furthermore, the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that housing associations in Illinois make reasonable accommodations for residents with disabilities.

What Is The ICPA?

The Illinois Condominium Property Act, also known as the "ICPA," governs condominium owners associations (COAs) in Illinois. If you own a condominium, chances are that the property manager of the condominium is a member of a COA. The member is a co-owner of the common area or common elements of the condominium development that are not the individual units. These are things like the lobby, hallways, and outdoor spaces.  

Condo associations charge a monthly fee called an assessment to maintain the common elements of the condo development. A COA's key legal instrument is a "Declaration of Condominium."  

If the property is not a condominium, it is part of a non-condominium common interest community association. In a non-condo common interest community association, each member owns their own land, and the private residence is constructed on the land. Members in this type of community also pay monthly or yearly assessments to maintain the community's common areas. These types of communities are commonly known as homeowner's associations.  

Members of the homeowner's association, or HOA, must also comply with rules and restrictions listed in a legal document called a "Declaration of Covenants." These covenants often include architectural design requirements and landscape restrictions, among other requirements. HOA communities are governed by the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act.

Read our article Residential Real Estate Checklist for more information on what to look for when buying a property, including HOA laws.  

What Happens If I Have A Dispute With My HOA Or COA?  

There are often disputes that arise between property owners and the managing associations. For example, an HOA member cannot get architectural designs approved because the HOA's review committee keeps changing the requirements. A homeowner can engage the help of an experienced attorney who understands Illinois HOA laws.    

What Happens If I Don't Pay My HOA Or COA Assessments?  

The largest disputes arise from assessments (payments made to your HOA or COA). Illinois HOA laws are very clear on the consequences of not paying your HOA dues. If you don't pay your HOA or COA assessments, you can face severe legal consequences, including eviction or foreclosure. A condo declaration states that assessments are liens against the property and the owner's personal obligation. A condo association can impose late fees on past-due assessments and charge interest on these payments. However, Illinois judges favor late fees over interest. Further, late fees must be reasonable and not used as a penalty.  

If assessment collection remedies have been exhausted, a lien can be placed on the property. Once recorded, a lien puts the community on notice that the owner has defaulted on their assessments. Usually, it takes years for the association to remove the lien because the owner will usually try to sell the property to pay the delinquent assessments.    

Another option is a foreclosure for an association to collect unpaid assessments. This is not the best method of recovering past due assessments as it is an expensive and time-consuming action. Once a lien foreclosure is recorded, the association takes ownership of the property subject to prior liens, such as the first mortgage. The first mortgage amount can be very costly, and a lien foreclosure can also require extensive time. It is not a recommended strategy for associations.    

Signing paperwork

Can My HOA Or COA Evict Me If I Don't Pay My Assessments?  

Yes, an HOA or COA can evict you if you do not pay your assessments under the Evictions Act. An eviction action for an HOA or COA works just like a traditional landlord-tenant eviction, except the cause of action is brought for delinquent assessments rather than rent. The association will have the burden of proving its case in court by proving the amount of delinquent assessments at the trial. If the association prevails at trial, it will be awarded an Eviction Order, formerly known as an Order for Possession, which grants possession of the unit to the association. The association can then lease the unit to a third party to recover the delinquent costs, court costs, and legal fees.  

Can An HOA Or COA Pursue Additional Legal Action?  

Yes, an association can sue you in a breach of contract action. This remedy is used when the member is no longer the property owner due to foreclosure or eviction. A breach of contract is also used against owners when the association is not seeking an Eviction Order. The declaration places an affirmative duty on owners to pay the association assessments.  

The law does not permit the association to collect attorney's fees from a former defendant because the former owner is no longer a party to the contract. The owner's failure to pay assessments is a breach of the contract's essential terms. In a breach of contract action, the association requests delinquent assessments from the court instead of possession of the property.    

What Other Actions Can An HOA Or COA Penalize Me For?  

An HOA can fine an owner for violating the bylaws (covenants) in the declaration, the legal instrument of the association. If the association follows the provisions of the bylaws and notifies an owner in writing of the violation, there is a chance for the owner to state his or her case. Some common examples of bylaw violations include unauthorized landscaping and building materials, among other things. Be sure to read your HOA and COA bylaws to know what you can do to your property without facing penalties.

Past Illinois COA And HOA Law Changes For 2023  

The Illinois COA and HOA law changes for 2023 involve Section 22.1 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Effective January 1, 2023, the proposed changes now require board members to comply with written requests to view records of the Association within ten business days instead of 30 business days. Furthermore, the limits on direct out-of-pocket fees that an Association may charge to make copies of its records cannot exceed $375.00, with annual adjustments tied to the consumer price index. For a "rush" request within 72 hours, an Association may charge an additional $100.00.

Effective January 1, 2023, the Illinois Property Tax Code made changes that affect both Condominium Associations and Common Interest Communities. On behalf of the Association and its owners, an Association can now file an appeal to the Property Tax Appeal Board. An Association can file an appeal on any claim that was filed after the 1999 assessment year.

Changes to Illinois COA and HOA law for 2022 permit condo associations to require a majority or less of the condo association board members to reside in the condo building as their primary address. A condo declaration cannot require a majority or more of the condo board members to live in the condo as their primary residence.    

Frequently Asked Questions

Who governs HOA in Illinois?

HOAs in Illinois are governed by the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act, which applies to homeowner's associations with detached or attached townhouses, single-family houses, or villas.

Can an HOA be dissolved in Illinois?

Yes, an HOA can be dissolved in Illinois by following the process outlined in the HOA's governing documents or obtaining member approval through a vote at a meeting.

Can you sue your HOA in Illinois?

Yes, in Illinois, homeowners have the right to sue their HOA for violations such as discrimination or breach of fiduciary duties. It is important to seek legal advice and understand the specific laws and regulations in order to pursue legal action successfully.

Can an HOA restrict rentals in Illinois?

Yes, homeowners associations (HOAs) in Illinois can restrict rentals within the association, including limiting the number of rentals or prohibiting rentals entirely. This allows the association to enforce rules to control the renting of condo units (Date not available).

What are the main laws governing homeowners associations in Illinois?

The main laws governing homeowners associations in Illinois are the Common Interest Community Association Act and the Condominium Property Act, along with other key laws such as the Not-for-profit Corporation Act and the Human Rights and Fair Housing Legislation.

If you have more questions regarding HOA and COA laws or are facing disputes, contact one of our experienced real estate attorneys today. You can reach us at 630-324-6666 or visit our Schedule a Consultation page.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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